SI Vault
The 50 Reasons why College BASKETBALL IS BETTER Than Pro BASKETBALL
Steve Rushin
November 23, 1998
Got the NBA lockout blues? Relax, and let us count the ways that the college game is superior
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
November 23, 1998

The 50 Reasons Why College Basketball Is Better Than Pro Basketball

Got the NBA lockout blues? Relax, and let us count the ways that the college game is superior

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4 5 6

38 A ticket to the Final Four—good for all three games at a price of either $80 or $100—may be the best value in all of sports.

39 We look at Michael Jordan in 1982 and think, Oh, to be young again. We look at Jordan in '98 and think, Eau de toilette.

40 In College a coach calls for a pick-and-roll from courtside seat. In the NBA, Dyan Cannon calls for a California Roll from courtside waitress.

41 With College ball you get the wit and wisdom of Dick Vitale on about 150 broadcasts a year. Oops, that's one for the NBA.

41 The NCAA actually made its season shorter six years ago, cutting by one the number of games a team can play, and the season ends by April 1. The NBA season is endless.

42 Lou 'do
Riley's mousse

43 NCAA Tournament buzzer beaters—by Christian Laettner, U.S. Reed, Bryce Drew, Tate George—outnumber the NBA's postseason buzzer beaters. (We refuse to go back as far as Jerry West against the Knicks in 1970.)

44 College Basketball has the Cameron Crazies, the raucous student section at Duke. The NBA has certifiable crazies, like deranged Washington attorney Robin Ficker.

45 Zone Defense

"It was definitely settled in 1897," wrote James Naismith in his 1941 book Basketball: Its Origin and Development, "that a basketball team should consist of five men." Oh yeah? So a hundred years later why were three members of the Chicago Bulls standing off to the side watching Steve Kerr throw the ball in to a posting-up Michael Jordan? Worse, why were three members of the Sacramento Kings standing around watching Tariq Abdul-Wahad throw the ball in to Lawrence Funderburke? Welcome to the NBA, Dr. Naismith, and don't karate-chop your spectacles to bits in frustration. With their rule stipulating that only man-to-man defense can be used, the pros have created a predictable and aesthetically displeasing offensive atmosphere in which two basic plays—the isolation and the pick-and-roll, both of which involve only two of the five offensive players on the court—are used a sickening percentage of the time. Worse, offense-impaired centers, such as Manute Bol (left), are deliberately stationed 25 feet from the basket solely to pull the opposing center away from the action.

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5 6